Often when I speak to medical professionals about my views on death they are very surprised and exclaim ‘you are very black and white about that.’ I realise my views on the subject differ to that of many other people, and they have done since I was a young child. I don’t know if this is partly due to my autism, or just my own weird take on things, so I thought I’d ask on here what other people’s views on death/dying are. To give you a flavour of my views, here are some of my comments on the matter:
I think that we all die so we should get used to the idea sooner rather than later and that’s it’s not worth worrying about as it is inevitable. I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. Further, if I was to fall terminally ill I would refuse treatment as I believe in letting nature take it’s course - after all, natural selection has worked well for thousands of years, so why mess with it? If I died prematurely due to illness I would just see it that this was meant to be. This is why, despite being in my early 20s, I have already requested a do not resuscitate to be in place (also, I kind of view CPR as a form of physical assault - having seen it done to others, I certainly wouldn’t want it done to me!) and I said I wouldn’t want a blood transfusion when I had surgery. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to refuse all medical input and I am very thankful for some of it, but I do draw a distinct line between what I consider acceptable and not.
My grandma is currently in a nursing home with dementia. She literally asked my mum and me to smother her, and she just wants to die because she is no longer able to live at home and do what she enjoyed. The home said she was depressed and tried to medicate her for it. They gave her a medication they new would increase her appetite as she was refusing food. I ended up arguing with them over it, explaining that my grandma wasn’t mentally ill - her thinking was perfectly logical and if I was in her position I would feel the same way. My grandma is very like me, and is very pragmatic about death also, and she hid the tablets rather than taking them, so that demonstrates what she thought about it! Maybe I was wrong to argue with the home, but I honestly couldn’t understand why they were trying to get her to feel different and eat more, as this would only prolong her suffering (aka life) and she just wanted to die! I think that keeping people alive at all cost is truly immoral and if they didn’t ask for it personally, it is selfish of those who did.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend anyone with my views, and I certainly don’t expect others to comply with them. I respect everyone’s views and I know this is a difficult subject for some. I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks like me about death, or if I’m being obscure on my own here! Some may put it down to my current depression, but as mentioned I’ve thought like this from a very young age, so it appears intrinsic (maybe inherited from my grandma!).
I am replying to myself, yet have read two answers so far from Nexus9 and Endymion...
I made no mention of "suicide" and have no intention of entering upon that particular topic - here (in public). It also touches upon Religion, as Reincarnation does... but I myself only mentioned Reincarnation.
I post this just to let anyone know why I might not Post again about it...
...Except to say, that when I was being Diagnosed with Aspergers, I was asked, and I said all that, yet their own way of acknowledging what I said was to completely ignore that answer!
(I also said that I was a "Cynosure", but they mis-heard this word and wrote "Sinecure" instead... Go Figure.) :-/
Sorry! I didn't mean to sound combative about it! I was going more for 'emotionally un-involved' and trying hard not to upset anyone in the process by just sticking to the facts as I understand them. Phew!! It can be a minefield sometimes trying not to say the wrong thing (Or is it just me overthinking everything again?).
You’re fine Endymion - I wasn’t upset by anything you said, I was just trying to clarify what I meant myself. Sometimes I find that on here people can pull the wrong interpretation from what you say, as we all process things from our own viewpoint of course, so I thought it best to clarify.
I thought you tackled the subject well, as you say abortion is a sensitive subject for many and I think debating it as an issue could go on forever (which is why I also avoided going into that).
I constantly worry about what I say, and I’m always concerned that I might upset someone with my comments, but I just try to be me and hope nobody hates me for it! I always enjoy reading your comments though and often I agree with them myself, so please don’t worry about saying the wrong thing where I’m concerned.
I believe in reincarnation too, though by my beliefs I don’t have to worry about dying in any particular way because I believe our soul is intended to experience many different lives (in order to learn from them all), and therefore what we have/do in one life will not be the same in the next. Basically each life is different as we are here to learn different lessons from each of them.
I realise some may find my views to be completely bonkers but hey ho, it would be terribly boring if we all had the same opinions about everything!
An interesting thread. My own argument, for myself, against suicide is that we can never know if life can get any better unless we give it the chance to.
But supposing we've given it chance after chance after chance, and it's never really improved? In fact, with each chance we've given it, it's just actually gotten worse in one way or another? And supposing we've reached an age where a combination of factors might be edging us towards a reconsideration of our position? Supposing, for instance, that we're starting to develop degenerative (though not immediately terminal) health issues as a natural part of the ageing process. Supposing we are feeling acute mental distress at the current state of our lives and at the thought of continuing with it. Supposing we feel that we're beyond all the usual 'where there's life, there's hope' platitudes, and the calls to the Samaritans, and the other myriad interventions designed to make us stay alive at all costs. Supposing, too, that we have no friends we can go to, and no supportive family: in fact, no one at all who will truly grieve at our passing. Supposing we've lost interest in many of the things that used to interest us. Supposing we no longer wish to take tablets to numb our pain - whether it be physical or mental, or both.
Supposing, then, we've come to a place where, having weighed it all up, we've decided quite consciously and rationally that we no longer wish to carry on living.
Shouldn't we be allowed to take the route of 'voluntary euthanasia' that many with terminal illnesses make? Shouldn't we be able to fly abroad to somewhere like the Dignitas clinic, and end our lives in a dignified manner rather than through the usual horrific methods of suicide that we're all familiar with?
It's not being selfish after all, is it. Perhaps it's actually more selfish of society to insist that we prolong the agony.
Just putting the thought out there.
A few thoughts of my own...
Regarding the physical procesd of death...it happens to everyone so why worry about it. i believe our bodies compensate and flood us with feel-good chemicals near the end. So far i feel ive had a good life. I dont think i want for much. Im contented and happy. Im extremely grateful for family, friends, my job, mysic, art, nature. I feel i have no regrets as ive slways just got on with whatever situation im in.
Im petrified of losing my parents.
I lost my grandma last year. I was with her very near the end. Dememtia along with other problems. It was awful to see her deteriorate. At the time i thought we keep ppl alive longer than they should be. Now im not sure...she fought to the very end and the nurses did a wonderful job. My friend's mum has early onset dementia. He wants every last moment with her because she is relatively young.
I dont believe in an afterlife as such. I dont know if consciousness survives. Ive been dipping in and out of quantum physics for thr past few years trying to find out.
But what happens before we are born then? At what point do we become conscious beings?
Im interested in these people (children) who know things from a past life they couldnt possibly know. There was something on Really TV about this.
I think we are quite sqeamish about death. Have you seen Dark Tourism on Netflix? Theres a country - might be in South America, where they dig members of the dead up every year and decorate them with clothed and jewellery and give gifts.
Ive also wondered before now the body and mind processes and reacts upon different modes of death. E.g instant death by bullet or slower process through illness
For a starting point, I think we all need to talk about death more.
For me, talking about death comes in two parts.
Part 1: I am terrified of death. Why? Eternal nothingness. No consciousness. No senses. No thoughts. Nothing. For eternity. For me, to have consciousness and senses is priceless, which is why I know I am privileged to be alive.
Part 2: We are not meant to live forever, so I accept death as the natural process of life. I will not live forever. I accept that I could die at any moment and if it's to happen then it will happen.
My beliefs are based on the idea that eternal life is based on the idea that the atoms, which make up our body, will continue to be part of the world and the universe, the energy within our bodies will simply be transferred from one state to another because energy is neither created nor destroyed but simply transferred from one state to another. However, our brains and the biochemical reactions within our bodies cease to function so we lose our consciousness while what has made us is simply returned to the greater whole of the world and universe around us. So, in a sense, I have a spiritual belief in that we and the world and the universe are all connected.
When I was a child, my first grandfather died, and it traumatised me. I didn't understand what was going on and all I knew is that my grandfather had gone and would never be coming back because he died. I suppose I just held a strong sense of attachment to my family that what happened really had a severe impact on me as a child. Going to bed, I wondered if I would wake up again. The spectre of death, that everyone died, haunted me in a way and I accepted my own mortality, the mortality of my family and everyone around me. The people I cared about would one day die and I couldn't do anything about it. It was painful and emotionally straining as a child yet because I didn't understand and because I didn't really express emotions as a child, nobody picked up on anything. It's very painful to lose the people I care about and that's why I can also find it hard to even consider getting close to people.
Like I say though, I accept death so even as it terrifies me, I have no power or control over it so I have to live with it. I was told by a psychologist who was involved in my diagnosis that at least I have the rest of my life to prepare for it rather than waiting until the end to suddenly feel afraid. Not sure it's the greatest of comforts but I know that there's nothing wrong with being afraid. I do my best to live with it, to be thankful for being alive, and thankful for the time I can share with those that I care about even though I know I will have to lose them eventually.
So, does that mean that I believe that people should strive to stay alive at any cost? No. I accept that we are mortal entities who are born to die. We can't escape death and to pay any price for life is something I can't comprehend. My father is an example, he's already decided that he's prepared to take his own life if his quality of life falls below a certain level and I respect his decision. Life and living should be about the quality of our ability to experience it, so if people feel that their ability to experience life or that their quality of life isn't good enough to constitute living then I can accept and respect their decision. Even to me, life is not simply about being hooked up to machines to be kept alive, or to live a poor quality of life. I suppose the only differences are where I may decide to draw that line on what sort of quality of life I am prepared to live with. I haven't actually drawn a line yet, probably because it depends on the circumstances at the time, but I don't want to be forced to live simply for the sake of ticking a box to say I'm alive.
My thoughts on dying and death ~ I don't have any.
How do l know it will even happen? It hasn't happened yet. And I have no need to think about it, other than the times, prompted by my sister and my friend, to think about funeral songs. I went along with it and chose some songs.
But my answer is I don't think about it because I have no need to think about it, so if I did think about it, I would be using the time I had now, thinking about something that might happen in the future, which could never happen because the future only exists in the mind, when I could be enjoying a rain drop or a sun beam.
I don't notice those things when I'm thinking, so I reserve my thinking time for things that are useful to me. And for me personally, it has no relevance to me in my life right here and now. My interests tend more towards life although I do have a thing about dead bodies. Whenever I work in a hospital, before I do anything, I check out the morgue and make my presence and my interest in dead bodies known, and they always accommodate my need to indulge in my curious interest in dead bodies. But I don't think about death or dying. I guess I just figure that living is more relevant to me right now.
Life is for the living of course it is. But i like spending my time thinking about all the eventualities and researching if science can provide any answers. This is not to the detriment of enjoying nature, the weather, family etc. Life is about curiosity
I think life is about learning as much as we can. I enjoy learning. Im not trying to seek out any truth by the way. Just to explore.